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Early Paper Money of America / Continental Currency / 1782-1787 Indents

After the end of hostilities the Continental Congress, although unable to redeem its paper money, was faced with the obligation of meeting the interest and principal obligations on its domestic and foreign bonds and paying the current expenses of the national government. Its sources of revenue continued to be taxation by the States, each of which was to turn over such collections to the United States in an established proportion. Accordingly the Continental Congress anticipated such taxes by requisitioning the funds with issues of Indents in convenient denominations payable to bearer and receivable for taxes. In 1782 1,200,000 was issued; in 1784 $667,744 43/90ths; in 1785 $2,805,071 9/90ths; in 1786 $1,606,560 65/90ths; and in 1787 $1,700,407. The use of the fractional sums in 90ths was for easy conversion into Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware money of account in which 90 pence was equal to one Spanish milled Dollar. By September 1787 Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Virginia had paid into the national treasury a total of $1,003,725 57/ 90ths in Indents, leaving $4,672,815 52/90ths in circulation. No other States had turned in taxes for this account. The Indents depreciated about 20% for a short period but in due course were used for the payment of taxes and absorbed.

The denomination in dollars is engraved into the left side border cut of each denomination, but the lower four denominations are known without left side border cuts. The denomination on all bills is included twice in the typeset portions. Most of the Indents were issued in integral amounts, but fractional sums could be added by hand. In addition to serial numbers the Indents have a letter and number series designation. Known Indents carry dates of authorization of September 27, 1785 and October 11, 1787. The paper is watermarked AT INTEREST surrounded by a rectangle. Issues authorized August 2, 1786 and August 20, 1788 were apparently never printed. Signers were John Hardy and Michael Hillegas.

September 27, 1785 issue:
$1 Extremely Fine $2,760 Stack’s Jan. 2005
$2 Fine $2,185 Stack’s Jan. 2005
$4 Extremely Fine $2,990 Stack’s Jan. 2005
$6 Very Fine $2,760 Stack’s May 2005
$8 Very Fine $3,220 Stack’s May 2005

October 11, 1787 issue:

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